HISD celebrates SPARK Week 2022 with the opening of new sustainable parks

SPARK Week 2022 marks the 40th birthday of the SPARK School Park Program which works with communities and schools to develop sustainable community parks throughout the Houston area.

This year, eight new and improved SPARK Parks are being unveiled at HISD schools, beginning Monday, Nov. 14.

At Anderson Elementary School, the new park dedication was celebrated with a performance by the Anderson Panther cheerleaders and a ribbon cutting with speakers from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, whose partnership makes HISD’s SPARK Parks possible.

Mandarin Immersion Magnet School celebrated an upgrade to their existing SPARK Park, opening a new section for their middle school students to enjoy. The area includes an ADA-accessible Raincrete path, a water bottle-filling station, a solar-powered workstation, and a bamboo grove to compliment the Asian-themed aesthetic of the school grounds.

“It’s so important to have the kids see what they’ve been learning about,” said Beth Jenkins of Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. “So many times, the solar components are on the roof, kids can’t see them, but this project brings [the sustainable components] to eye-level and it’s focused for middle schoolers. These kids will be our future leaders, and they have a great opportunity to see sustainability in action through their cell phones.”

Following remarks from community partners and HISD Deputy Superintendent Rick Cruz, the MIMS dragon dance team performed in the school gym and led visitors outside to view the innovative new park.

SPARK Parks serve more than just their campuses. They’re available for neighborhood use after school hours daily and on weekends and holidays. SPARK Parks utilize green infrastructure, and each park is designed with sustainability and the unique needs of the school and surrounding community in mind. 

SPARK Week will culminate on Friday, Nov. 18 with a dedication at Tijerina Elementary School at 9 a.m.